Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Five Days Left with NOVA!!!

Hi all,
Well I will attempt to make my entries a little shorter so that reading them isnt such an effort. Sorry Mom. Is that better Issy? lol I am just teasing you.
So Mhairi and I move in a week. We are still sorting out banking details which is very complicaited when you cant write in Japanese!! But all is well. We have to arrange movers for our stuff and then we will be set.
I now have my address for my new apartment so if you dont have it yet and want it, just ask.
Ota remains boring but the weather has been fabulous the last few days....well yesterday it was 25 and SUNNY! Two days previous it had been 5 degrees and rainy. Right now it is cloudy and about 16 so I am not complaining. Mom, what is the weather like in Florida again?... Cold and stormy? Such a shame....Japan wins! Take that Dad. hehehe
Mhairi cant wait for us to get to our new apartment so she can get her Christmas tree and decorate. Yes, I know I am breaking my own rule, but I am allowing a Christmas tree to go up before my birthday. I just can't tell that little Scott no. And we can get them at the 100 yen store so they are CHEAP! not very big but then we don't exactly have tones of space.
I talked to Isabell yesterday until my phone died. Isabell, that you for calling that was such a wonderful treat! Hearing someone's voice is almost as great as seeing them. And I will be seeing her in just over a month!
Well that is about it for me. I think I am going to walk to the discount store to get some cheap bread and stuff.... my days off are soo exciting!
Next Monday is my last day working for Nova, and on the Thursday we move at 6:30am.


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Found an Apartment!!

I found an apartment!
Mhairi and I might not eat this next month so we can put down the security deposit but I saw a great one today and we should get it.
Ash and Jenna and all my guest, there is space for you! And I even have a desk for ya Ash, and there is internet connection. The bedrooms are really big and it is all brand spanking new! never been lived in, no bugs, no dirt. new shower and bathroom, new fridge. the only thing used is the TV and it cant changed over the English shows to English (they are dubbed) so we will probably need to get a more modern one and we are looking into getting satellite TV so we can get bbc, cnn, fox and stuff in English. There is one new double bed which I am letting Mhairi have cause she hates the futon mates we sleep on. I don’t mind sleeping on the floor so much so we are all good. oh and i have extra mates and blankets for my guests! i will need to get you guys a pillow though, I would like one myself come to think of it. The kitchenette and little dinning space are small but it is very sunny and CLEAN!!! you have no idea the apartments I have seen.
Oh for those of you who are interested it is one north of the Ueno station which is on the Hybia line. The station name is Iryia (r's are L's in Japanese). I want to get a bike for Tokyo and we will probably be able to bike to Ueno which has fabulous shopping, museums, and a ZOO!!! how cool is that!!! And Ueno is one of the major stations and connects to the Yamanote line which goes in a circle around the center of Tokyo so we are just outside of the Yamanote circle which is pretty central for Tokyo. are rent is inclusive, internet and everything and is $750 CAN a month. My rent in TO was more then that!
So if I have to send out another message saying we didn’t end up getting the apartment I will not be happy. But as of the moment there is no reason we shouldn’t get it.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Day in the Life

You ready? It’s a long one!
Well Christmas is in full consumer gear here as it is back home, no doubt. The mall where I work plays endless Christmas music, which I fortunately cannot hear when I am teaching. Christmas planning seems to also be at work back in Canada where my family so kindly includes me in their planning emails - it sounds loving guys, enjoy the tree and the skating in the park, why don’t you do some caroling while you are at it!…don’t worry about me, I’m not crying over here on the other side of the world…Mhairi and I were looking at Christmas trees today…nice tiny synthetic ones with fiber optic lights! Beat that! Ha and Mhairi says that we will find an ice rink in Tokyo…we will hold each others hands and get through this, family smaily, I have a cute Scot and you don’t!
Anyway….I have been asked to do a day in the life entry so here goes.
Yesterday, Monday, was busy as per usual. I biked to work which was my favorite part of the day. The sun was so strong and the cool crispy air softened by the rays. I love biking to work. I was running to work for a while there but as good as a workout that was, I can actually enjoy my surroundings when I am biking. I have been lent a bike to use for the rest of the month by my friend Rosie. After I arrived at work, clocked in and planned my first lesson the, the work day officially started at 1:20pm. One of the teachers at my school has been ill so we were short two teachers, as my branch manager was off doing training at another branch. This meant for big schedule changes and the Japanese staff juggled the classes around. So I started out the day with only three classes until my break (a schedule I had been hoping for since I had only had breakfast early in the morning) and I ended up with five classes until break which meant that I didn’t get a break until 6pm. But I survived and treated myself to some sushi for dinner. My classes went well. I have been in a strangely playful and giddy mood this past week and I have so much fun with my classes. My students may think I have a few screws loose but I get them laughing and enjoying the lesson so I really don’t care how much glue then think I have been sniffing. Bottom line is, if they’re bored, then I’m bored, and if I’m bored, I fall asleep, actually if I am not laughing or making fun of something or someone, I fall asleep. No one wants a passed out teacher, so they get nutty one. At the end of the day (9pm) I biked home with another teacher, also from Toronto. We talked all the way back so I hardly had time to notice the cold.
Almost as soon as I arrived in the door Mhairi announced that she was off to the internet café to apply for more jobs and to look for an apartment. We seeing as the apartment is for the both of us and we really need to find I a place, I joined her. The bike ride was chilly (Mhairi borrowed a bike as there was no way I was walking all the way there-it’s a 30min walk, in the cold) but quick. We were at the café for about two hours and found a few apartments which we made inquires about. (I have heard back for some and I am off to Tokyo to see two of them tomorrow.) So this took us until midnight. We headed over to our friend Bob’s apartment to return his bike keys and our quick little trip by ended up lasting until around 4am. An English movie came on TV as we were talking and we ended up watching it - The Secret Lives of Alter Boys. I don’t recommend it but I cant say I found it as bad as others in our party did.
So a typical day in my life does not include staying up so late, but it does generally involved watching movies and work.
Today and tomorrow are my days off. Today was spent grocery shopping, walking around the city, and of course, watching movies. Tomorrow it will be back to Tokyo to view apartments. I have high hopes that one of the ones I see tomorrow will be just fabulous and we can take it!
Oh, it is our two month anniversary today. Two months in Japan, and two months of friendship with Mhairi, the coolest and cutest little Scot in the world! When Mhairi gets home from work we will have a glass of wine and do something crazy! That’s right folks, we are going to watch a movie! It is either The Usual Suspects, or Four Weddings and a Funeral. Or maybe we will be REALLY CRAZY and watch BOTH! Can you handle it?
Oh and those of you who know me well will not be surprised to hear that I have been planning my birthday day. The lovely December 9th falls on a Saturday this year, my day off from my new job, and I plan on spending the day checking out Tokyo’s big museums and art galleries and drinking as much Starbucks as I feel like, and of course eating a fabulous sushi dinner! The girls and I will go out in the evening when they finish work…where has yet to be decided but there’s no real rush, we have about 25 days to figure that out.
p.s. My skin has cleared up, not that any of you knew it was bad. The only reason that I say this is that I am afraid it is the cold weather that has inspired dermatological transformation which would seem like a good thing, except to a certain person who happens to hate the cold and would really not be happy to have her dreams of living in a warm climate plagued by her skin’s preference to Canadian weather!
p.p.s. yah, yah, I will lay off the glue….

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


Nikko is an ancient city about two hours from Ota (or three by train). It is a tourist attraction for both Japanese and foreigners in all seasons, but the autumn is supposed to be particularly beautiful. So yesterday Jackie (the cat from Halloween) and I embarked on the long journey to the famous Nikko. The mountain regions of Japan are beautiful! And no, Ota is not really in the mountains, not like the little towns that we passed along our way. It was so beautiful, the whole train ride up, even getting lost, was a delight! It was Jackie’s birthday so the day was extra special.
The two of us arrived in Nikko at about half past eleven and after a delicious Korean lunch at a little local restaurant (Jackie’s first taste of Korean food), we headed up to the shrines. Along the way we passed by the famous World Heritage bridge which is crimson an particularly stunning in the fall with the colours. The Japanese maples were at their prime but over all I would have to say that Muskoka blows Japan out of the water when it comes to autumn foliage.
The temples and shrines that we visited were breathtakingly beautiful! I can now say I have seen the original carving of the famed Three Monkeys - hear no evil, see no evil, say no evil!!!!
We wandered around the temple area for several hours and allowed ourselves to get turned around in the narrow lanes and tall trees. There were lots of people there, and this was on a Tuesday so I have no doubt that the place is crowded on national holidays and on the weekend.
While we did see quite a few foreigners there, I don’t think we came across any that were English speaking. It really felt like we were traveling!
The pictures will, I am sure, speak for themselves . I did buy a photo book on the temples and on Nikko so I can provide you with more info if anyone wants more.
There is also a beautiful lake up one of the mountains, about an hour from Nikko which we did not get to see as we did not have enough time. I am sorry we didn’t get to the lake. I was so looking forward to it!
I am currently once again in Tokyo. I came in today for a meeting with my new company and I have spent the last few hours apartment shopping. It is frustrating.
So yesterday was fabulous.
I am looking forward to seeing Ani and Nina this evening. Ani has planned an evening for us. I will stay with them this evening.
The weather has just started to turn. The chill is in the air and at nights it drops below 10! I realize that you folks trapped in Canada have this as your daytime high if you are lucky but I am still working on temps in the 20s. This is apparently a cold patch so hopefully it will warm up again. I am not ready for this. I don’t have a coat! shame…I might just have to buy one of those fashionable Japanese ones…..

Nikko Pictures

Photo of the month

This is our friend Shani at Matt and Rosie's house warmning party. But what is that behind Shani? Yup that's right, that's crazy Ani!

Thursday, November 02, 2006


So Halloween was crazy. Mhairi was a butterfly and I was a butterfly catcher. As you will see in the pictures, I looked completely crazy! We went to a party at the Brazilian bar around the corner and we won a price for the most original costume. We won a bottle of wine and some crazy stuffed skeleton that dances and sings. Today was spent in recovery. I was so tired. I got a call from my sister Jen and I got to talk to Theo and David. Piper was so tired from her trick or treating that she had passed right out when they got home. Theo however told me that she had gotten 143 candies and that she was going to send me some. Jen promised to send me pictures and David is still trying to wrap his head around somehow buying Burberry tights. David, you are lucky you have a production staff to save the day. I have been enjoying that story all day!

Ani's Birthday

Ani’s Birthday
So last Sunday was Ani’s birthday. After a nice spaghetti dinner with caesar salad and garlic bread we had the cake. The cake was created by myself but inspired by Ani. The cake was a tower of doughnuts. These doughnuts are the best things ever, and I don’t really even like doughnuts and these are amazing. Ani was so thrilled. After dinner we went to out to some karaoke place and it was crazy!!! Almost everyone came out, there was about 15 of us or more. We got there around 11pm and we left around 2 or 3am when it closed. We sang everything it was fabulous! The play list was as big as a phone book. We of course made asses of ourselves but it was lots of fun. It was also all you can drink with the price of admission so well we made sure we got our money’s worth and we ordered all kinds of crazy stuff just to see what it was like. The funniest thing was when the beer came. The brought a bunch of pitchers but the glasses they brought were so tiny! We were laughing all night. After we left Ani felt a craving for a burger so we went to a 24hr restaurant but they were out of burgers which is odd but whatever. All in all we didn’t get back until around 4am, work the next day was surprisingly not that bad. Well that night was also Ani and Nina’s send off. They have moved to Tokyo now. It is just me and Mhairi left in Ota now. (just click on the picture to see it-sorry I can't figure out what happened or how to change it)